The Ministry for the Environment & Statistics in 2023 reports that Aotearoa faces dire freshwater quality outcomes.

Urgent action must be taken to prevent future extinctions and degradation of our waterways. Te Mana o te Wai outlines the responsibilities not just of Tangata Whenua and Governance, but of all New Zealanders.

Grass-roots community groups working voluntarily to improve local biodiversity and waterways are growing in number. These groups demonstrate how to practically give effect to Te Mana o te Wai, as well as pointing to recommendations for authorities to partner with and utilise passionate local communities without burdening them.

These “catchment communities” report challenges procuring funding, and being connected with relevant technical guidance (scientific alongside Mātauranga Māori). Solutions proposed for Regional Councils to implement alongside new Water sector leadership include:

  1. Develop catchment-specific action-plans for community groups.
  2. Rationalise the existing, diverse funding streams.

Eliza Cowey


Eliza is a Senior Water Engineer whose design experience focuses on treatment alongside measuring and mitigating GHG emissions, as well as conveyance for wastewater, stormwater and water supply. She has an additional role as an ‘ESG Influencer’ embedding positive environmental and social outcomes throughout projects while honouring Mātauranga Māori.
Concurrent Session B

Kaitiakitanga | Rua

Wednesday 22 May